Defense asks jury to spare Arizona inmate's life

By By JERI CLAUSING

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Defense attorneys trying to spare an Arizona inmate from the death penalty for murdering a retired couple reminded a New Mexico jury Wednesday that John McCluskey is a human being who has had a hard life.

Attorney Gary Mitchell says McCluskey shouldn't have to pay the ultimate price "because the good lord didn't bless him with what you and I have."

Prosecutors, however, argued he is a dangerous, cold-blooded killer who deserves nothing less than execution.

The 48-year-old McCluskey was convicted in October of murder, carjacking and other charges in the August 2010 deaths of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla., as they passed through New Mexico.

The same Albuquerque jury now will decide whether McCluskey should be executed or be given life in prison with no possibility of parole.

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